Fighting through

(Photo by Rosalie Eid)
(Photo by Rosalie Eid)

Peter Campbell doesn’t know how his star player does it.

When Max Allin stepped onto the court Wednesday following an emotional moment of silence for his father Dave, he put on an unforgettable performance in his memory. And even Campbell, who has coached Allin for four years, was amazed.

“I [said] to him all the time… when his dad was alive, the one thing you can do for your dad is play well because your dad loved to watch you play,” Campbell said.

Allin’s father passed away Jan. 4 after being diagnosed late in 2011 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). After missing the first two games of the second half of the season, Allin exploded on the court last Wednesday, dedicating his performance to his dad.

“My dad was a big part of my life,” said Allin. “He taught me everything I knew about basketball and today he would want me to keep competing and achieving as much as I can out on the court.”

Allin recorded 28 points, ten assists and seven rebounds to lead the Laurier Golden Hawks to a 112-92 upset win over the No. 8 Windsor Lancers Wednesday night.

A mere three days later, Allin broke the modern day record for points scored in a game when he put up 43 points, eight rebounds and two assists.

“Mentally, I don’t know how he does what he does,” Campbell said of his fourth-year guard. “For the fall [semester], he carried us. We weren’t very deep; we weren’t playing a lot of guys, so we had a lot of trouble playing Friday night and Saturday night. He was the one guy that was consistently good both nights all fall.”

Allin’s performance earned him his 11th career Laurier Athlete of the Week honour and Monday, he was named the Ontario University Athletics’ (OUA) Athlete of the Week for the second time in his career.

He also leads the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) in scoring at 26.3 points per game and is fourth for rebounds per game with 10.6.

But everything he’s accomplished he gives credit to the late Dave Allin.

“Since I was a little kid he taught me everything I knew about basketball,” said Allin. “He’s always helped me and criticized my game and helped me grow as a player and I’m thankful for having him teach me the game of basketball.”

Allin comes from a big family, where he is one of eight children. Campbell described the family as very close, saying that Allin’s father’s illness weighed heavily on him.

“And, you know, initially a year ago in January, Max said ‘the toughest thing is that dad comes to a game and I think about him’,” Campbell said. “And I said ‘tell him not to come, Max, because he wants you to play well’. And he said ‘well I can’t do that’. I said ‘that’s right. It’s the alternative.’”

But despite everything he’s gone through, Allin finds comfort in stepping on the court with his teammates and coach, whom were present at his father’s funeral last Monday.

And Campbell is amazed by his dedication.

“I think with all [of] that going on, it’s particularly impressive what he’s been able to do on the basketball court,” he said.

Allin had to miss every practice of the New Year before playing in Wednesday’s game against Windsor. And when he told Campbell he was ill Tuesday afternoon, the coach dismissed his absence.

“He doesn’t seem to need much practice,” Campbell laughed. “He hasn’t been in the gym for over a week.”

The modern day record for a single-game performance was previously held by graduate Kale Harrison — one of Allin’s good friends — who recorded 39 points against Carleton on Nov. 12, 2010. It was then tied on Jan. 5 of this year when second-year Will Coulthard scored 39 points against McMaster.

“It’s pretty impressive, I guess you could say,” Allin said of his 43-point game. “It was nice that Kale was there in attendance during the game and I got to see him after, which was nice. It’s an impressive record, but it’s not as important as winning.”

Allin still focuses his attention on improving his talent and helping the Hawks move into a playoff position despite his personal accomplishments.

“It sucked missing the two games, it sucked not being on the court with my teammates and I tried to make up for it in the last few games. I think we got a lot of talented guys on our team, we’ve just got to come together,” he said.

And despite his father not being present physically, Allin will continue to use him as his motivation throughout the rest of the season.

“Every time I step out on the court I play for him and I want to make him proud. So far I think I’m doing a good job and I’m going to continue to for the rest of the year.”

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